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Southeast Polk football team gives back to the community

While players are getting ready for the season, they're also putting in the work to help their community.

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — The standards are high for Southeast Polk football.

They've become a powerhouse program, and they have the state titles to prove it. 

But the high standards don't just apply to what they do on the field. 

"Out in the community as a football team, we always try to hold ourselves to a high standard because as we wear our shirts, we want to be recognized as good players and just good people," said senior linebacker Spencer Olesen. 

During the summer, players are putting in work to get ready for the season, but they're also putting in work in their communities by volunteering.

Earlier this week, they spent some time with the residents at Prairie Vista Village, playing a game of bag baseball and enjoying some root beer floats. 

"It is a lot of fun," said Dale Wheeler, a Prairie Vista Village resident. "I'm glad the young folks came out. We enjoyed it very much." 

A day later, the team hung out at The Kids Café, a six-week summer lunch and activities program. 

"It's just cool seeing them wanting to interact with us," said senior wide receiver Cooper Bueltel. "Their face really lights up when we walk in."

Being a role model for kids is a full circle moment for many of the players. 

"Whenever I was with high school athletes, I always thought they were the coolest," said senior defensive back Zeb Hinze. "So for me to be a role model now to the younger ones, you want to do right by them and be the example to them as well."

Through their volunteer work, players get to see first hand the lasting impact they can have. 

"It's so good for our kids," said Maggie Crabb, executive director of The Kids Cafe. "I mean, to have these guys coming in and spending time with them focusing on them and showing them attention, it's incredible. A lot of these kids aspire to be... where these guys are and they really are the best of the best in our community."

Being a part of a community is like being part of a team. Members support each other, and no matter how big or small, everyone has a role to play in making it the best it can be. 

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